Sunday, February 8, 2009

Nirvana Day Ride

It felt great to be out today in 50 degree weather. It did not really matter that we got rained on for the first half hour and then one months worth of melted snow and road salt was getting splattered onto us for several hours. It just felt great to put all my energy into riding instead of trying to keep warm. As the snow receded, rivers of running water grew on the streets. Smiling cyclists were everywhere.

Todays ride had just as much to do with completing my old bike project as with logging some climbing miles on my legs. Finally the Team Fuji was complete with White Industries dos enos freewheel. The bike had been found under my sisiters deck and was in mint condition. The conversion consisted of pulling off some shifters and cogs, replacing the handlebar with a newer one I had in the parts bin at home, replacing tires and tubes with ones from my tire pile, and a new stem donated from a bike shop. I purchased two chainrings 40t and 42t, a freewheel cog, pink chainring bolts and some new bar tape, .... all under $150.

The warm temperatures created much excitement at the start of the ride, and I was already beginning to meditate on my lack of gears and cleansing of distracting gadgets. I had no computer, no heart-rate monitor, no clock, no gps, no shifters, and most importantly, no expectations. By the time I reached my first hill, I had already found my rhythm. While working in a pace line of fancy bikes and forcing some uphill surges, I came to my first enlightenment: It has less to do with the bike than you think. Riding a SS reminds me of what I am and what I CAN do, and that is usually more than I think I can.

Returning home on the back half of the ride, I felt so much better than I did last weekend. I noticed a few members of the group that began to tire and cramp. Familiar with that very same feeling myself, only a week before, I felt lucky to have that behind me already. The rhythm of the single-speed , helped flush out my legs with each little incline, and before I knew it, I was home with energy to spare. Maybe a bigger ride next weekend.

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